The SOLVE Study: Solving non-participation in the Cwm Taf Health Check programme(Masters by Research Scholarship)


The SOLVE Study: Solving non-participation in the Cwm Taf Health Check programme

Project Team:             Melanie Jones (Academic Lead Supervisor)

Peter Sykes (Academic Supervisor)

Rebecca Brooks (Academic/Industrial Supervisor)

Gillian Day (Lead Company Supervisor)

Sara Thomas (Company Supervisor)

Project Outline:

The ‘Cwm Taf Health Check’ programme was set up to assess the risk that people within the region have in terms of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke, and to offer personalised advice to reduce their individual risks. A person’s weight, height, blood pressure, age, sex and ethnicity are recorded, and a finger prick blood sample used to test their blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Using this information, their risk of developing such health problems in the next 10 years is determined and discussed with them, alongside the provision of information regarding how the risk can be minimised by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The aim of the programme is to prevent the onset of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke in the first place. Everyone aged between 40 and 74 (approximately 191,500 people) is invited to attend a Health Check at a GP surgery but the problem is that only half of those invited make use of this opportunity.

What are we looking for?

We are seeking a motivated student with an interest in service improvement and qualitative methods. An Undergraduate Honours degree in life sciences or equivalent is required. The candidate must have good interpersonal skills and be willing to spend at least 30 days working within the Cwm Taf Morgannwg  Public Health Team.

Structure of the programme

The successful candidate will register as a full-time Master of Research student at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Under guidance of the supervisory team, the student will initially design and host 3-6 focus groups, or until saturation, across the region to talk to people who were invited but did not attend a Health Check. The focus groups will explore their reasons for not engaging with the Health Check and what might encourage them attend (if ever) in the future. The student will transcribe and qualitatively analyse the data set, using the results to inform the design of a future recruitment strategy for the programme. The focus groups will ideally be completed by January providing sufficient time for analysis and follow up if required.

The technical challenge will be to collect information at a focus group from people who have already not engaged with the Health Check programme, as their non-attendance already indicates their general disengagement and/or naivety around their health. This may require innovative techniques to be used such as work based focus groups, requiring the student to engage with key employers in the area for access to their workers.

In order to apply, applicants should hold an undergraduate degree (BA (Hons) at 2.1) in social sciences or related disciplines and be able to start the project on 16th. September 2019, or as soon as possible thereafter. An excellent understanding of social sciences research methods and experience of primary data collection would be desirable – students will be encouraged to attend Masters of research modules.

Application Deadline:   2nd of September 2019

Proposed work as detailed below:

WP1: Introduction to project team and Cwm Taf Health Check programme team;

WP2: Enrol on MRes programme;

WP3: Develop research proposal and gain ethical approval via NHS ethics;

WP4: Data collection;

WP5: Analysis, write up and finding dissemination.

The scholarship offers all eligible participants (student):

  • KESS MRes Scholarship holders do not pay fees;
  • A monthly stipend in line with UKRI rates: 1 years of funding at £11,703 (2019/20)
  • An additional budget to support your research of £3,000 for travel, conference attendance, minor equipment, consumables and training
  • An opportunity to access a suite of higher level skills training & attendance at a residential KESS Grad School
  • A minimum of 30 days a year working with the company partner on their allocated project
  • Students must complete & submit their thesis within 1.5 years
  • All participants must complete the KESS Postgraduate Skills Development Award

To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants should have UK or EU Citizenship, and be resident in the competitive area of Wales on appointment (or be studying in or working in the competitive area immediately prior to starting the project) and should have the right to work in the region on qualification. Residence confirmed by providing documents such as driver’s licence, tenancy agreement or recent statement from bank or building society.

The map for the eligible East area can be​ found here​.  NB: The map also illustrates other assisted areas in the UK, however only the East Wales (areas of Wales which are not shaded) is eligible in this project.

To obtain an application form (Participant Application Form) and for further information regarding KESS2 at Cardiff Metropolitan, Please click here

For additional information or for any questions please contact Dr Melanie Jones via email

 To apply please submit completed application form to Melanie Jones (Email:

Interviews for this post will take place in the week beginning the 9th September with a proposed commencement date of 23rd September 2019.

Funding Notes:

Supported by Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships 2 (KESS2) which is an All Wales higher level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) Competitive programme for East Wales.